By CHISHALA MUSONDA
THE media in Ghana is has labelled the Zambia national team as Cheap-polopolo in one editorial and also branded the former Africa champions as rubber bullets in the hype ahead of the key Group D FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 qualifier in September.
Ghana host Zambia in the decisive group match in Kumasi on September 8 with the Chipolopolo needing a victory to advance to the last round of the World Cup qualifiers. A draw will be enough for the Black Stars.
The Black Stars leap-frogged Zambia to the leadership of Group D with a 2-0 away win over Lesotho and moved to 12 points, one more than the 2012 Africa Cup winners who were held 1-1 at home by Sudan.
An online edition of spyghana.com headlined their story after an interview with striker James Chamanga from his base in China: Cheap-polopolo will pull a surprise against the Black Stars.
In the same article, the editorial describes the Chipolopolo as Rubber Bullets who must defeat the Black Stars in Kumasi to qualify while a draw will be sufficient for Ghana to advance to the next stage of the qualifying series.
Zambia, formerly called the Eagles in description of the Eagle on the national flag, are called Chipolopolo (Bullet), a common phrase among the many local languages in the country that portray a conqueror in the battlefront like the bullet would easily pierce through objects.
In the interview, Chamanga told spyghana.com that Zambia can still play with the same spirit that helped them win the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations title in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
“My take on the Ghana game; only God will tell who is going to Brazil. We have done it before and I believe we can do it again,” Chamanga said.
Chamanga also added that the team could not afford to let their fans down after the overwhelming support they got against Lesotho and Sudan on June 8 and 15, respectively, at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
The winner in Kumasi will advance to the last round of 10 where the teams will be paired in home and away knock-out ties during the dates of October 11 to 15 and November 15 to 19.
The five winners over both legs will qualify for the Brazil World Cup to be held from June 12 to July 13, 2014.
The Black Stars and the Chipolopolo have squared off nine times since the 1978 Africa Cup finals meeting in Ghana with Zambia winning five of the encounters and the two nations have not drawn a match.
Ghana have emerged victors in both the two matches played on home soil – the Africa Cup final group stage match that they hosted in 1978 and the 1988 Olympic Games qualifier.
The Black Stars’ other wins were at the 1992 Africa Cup finals in Senegal and the infamous international friendly in London four years ago when Zambia failed to make the numbers and used students to fill the void.
Zambia have won thrice at home and twice at the Africa Cup finals, the latest being the 1-0 Africa Cup semi-final victory in Bata.
The clash on September 8 in Kumasi will the 10th match between Ghana and Zambia.